This article was originally published on Black Atlas, a unique online community that offers travel insights from an African-American perspective. Click here to see the original post.
You should have seen my Dad’s face. His expression reminded me of my own the first time I saw Michael Jackson’s Thriller video at age 8. I had just informed him that I was going for a ride on my new scooter. I mean yeah, it was a rental, I had no insurance, and only knew conversational, find-my-way-out-of-the-Bronx Spanish, but I was determined to see the coast of Cozumel that day. Alone.
As I pulled away from the hotel driveway the scooter left a huge cloud of dust behind me, luckily disguising to onlookers the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. I awkwardly screeched down the road, through a red light and into the grass several times before I got the handle of it and finally let go. Of everything. I released my fear of getting kidnapped by Mexican pirates and let the wind against my face blow away every remnant of tension left in my muscles. I set my iPod to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” and smiled at the morning sun as I allowed Speed Racer (yes, that was her name for the day) to go as fast as her little engine would allow.
I made a few stops along the way allowing my inner child to fancy herself in whatever fascinating little treasures she encountered on the way. I found a quiet cove on the shore that called out to my toes, inviting them for a play date in its cool clear water. Further down the road I stopped to watch little party boats sail by and smiled with gratitude that I was not confined to a small vessel of loud inebriated tourists. After about an hour, the early morning sun had begun roasting my shoulders so I decided to seek shelter at a beachside bar tucked away from the road and indulged myself in a delicious breakfast of warm tortilla chips and fresh salsa.
I didn’t have a GPS to pinpoint my location on the Mexican shoreline or a cell phone to call home. But as I feasted on fresh pico de gallo and stared out at the Atlantic Ocean, these normally essential gadgets seemed frivolous. Time and location faded away into the faint horns of the salsa music playing at the bar while responsibility and schedules blew away with the cool breeze. It was one of the best mornings of my entire life and the photos I took that day will be framed and placed in my grandchildren’s bedroom as a reminder of what life has in store for them. I can’t wait to see their faces when they find out the bikini-clad girl on the scooter is grandma.